The Coalition brings together activists, feminists, practitioners, humanitarian actors and those with first-hand experience working in the frontline on issues relating to women, peace and security. Coalition members have wide ranging expertise in gender and peace.
The Coalition’s newest member, The Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC) has kindly written this article about their Women, Peace and Security work and why they’ve become a Coalition member.
The Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC) is delighted to join the Australian WPS Coalition. Based in Sydney, we are a not-for-profit community organisation, providing a range of holistic services and programs to newly arrived migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Founded on the principles of justice, equity and inclusivity, we walk alongside newly arrived individuals, families and communities toward recovery, wellbeing and full participation in community life.
For over 20 years, the CMRC has worked at the coal-face of prevention of gender-based violence and the protection of women and girls. Many of our clients come from war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, and have endured unimaginable rights abuses. Contrary to popular assumption, these women and girls continue to be at risk of ongoing violence during settlement in Australia; this includes high risk of rape, forced marriage, survival sex, social exclusion and severe trauma.
Day to day, the CMRC deals first hand with the impacts of conflict, militarisation, and the inability of international community to respond to the protection needs of refugee women and girls, prior to arrival in Australia. In addition to this, the CMRC also confronts systemic patriarchy at the local level that perpetuates their continued vulnerability during resettlement.
In collaboration with women and girls, the organisation has developed significant institutional knowledge in reconciliation and peace building, domestic and family violence prevention, women’s economic security, resilience and wellbeing. The CMRC also plays a central role in advocacy efforts for policy change for women and girls at state and national levels.
Given this, it is of great importance to include the specialised expertise of local civil society organisations like the CMRC in discussions of WPS at local, regional and global levels.
Some of our most recent contributions with both local and international relevance include the development and implementation of a rights-based women and girls protection framework that underpins the work of all 7 teams and 71 staff. This framework ensure the mainstreaming of prevention, early identification and intervention strategies into all CMRC programs and services delivered to 28,000 clients per year.This framework is also complemented by our multi-levelled approach to peace-building; the individual level (recovery from trauma, resilience and self-agency), the interpersonal level (relationships and family), the community level (dialogue, reconciliation and systemic advocacy).
The CMRC has also led the development of new responsive Domestic and Family Violence practice model for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women. This revised model approach makes a departure from Western feminist domestic violence approaches and incorporates an intersectional lens that acknowledges and acts upon socio-cultural complexity, racism and social exclusion.
These initiatives demonstrate the wealth of knowledge that civil society organisations, like the CMRC, have about the local implications of WPS, and how to facilitate the meaningful participation of women and girls in peace building, protection and prevention responses.
As a new member of the WPS for 2018, the CMRC will utilise its position to encourage a greater role for local civil society organisations and settling migrant and refugee women in the implementation of the Australian National Action Plan, enhancing our collective efforts to prevent, manage and resolve conflict with better outcomes for women and girls into the future.
If you’re a member of the Coalition and would like to share a similar article please get in touch.